Bin collections in Bexley, in South London, will halt during summer pay strikes, Unite said today (June 29).
More than 100 workers, employed by Bexley council contractor Countrystyle Recycling, will begin a two-week strike on July 12 in a dispute over pay and working conditions.
Countrystyle has offered the workers a below-inflation pay deal and also wants to scrap a long-standing ‘job and finish’ clause in their contracts. This will mean workers are forced to stay at the depot when their work is finished.
The deal has been rejected by Unite’s membership, who want a pay rise that better reflects the real inflation rate, RPI, which is running at 11.7 per cent.
Unite says that Countrystyle has already been making staff stay at work after their rounds have ended. Members have also reported that CCTV monitoring is being used to unfairly target workers.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Countrystyle’s bullyboy tactics and refusal to put forward a cost-of-living pay rise leave our members with no choice but to strike.
“Bexley council should be ashamed of the mistreatment going on at one of their contractors. A better deal needs to be put forward, or these strikes will go ahead with Unite’s full support.”
Unite regional officer Tabusam Ahmed added, “Our members are rightly asking for a pay rise that keeps up with rocketing prices. In response, Countrystyle is trying to punish them by scrapping a long-standing agreement.
“This dispute can end before strikes begin but it will mean Countrystyle treating these workers with decency and tabling an offer our members can accept. If the company refuses to do this, Bexley council should make them.”
By Ryan Fletcher